Farm to Fork
why is traceability so important?
Traceability is most relevant when it comes to public health.
Whether we are talking about food safety or food defence, emergency planning can be broken into four phases:
When planning for an emergency situation, traceability provides greater visibility into a supply chain, thereby helping to be better prepared if something goes wrong.
In case something goes wrong, traceability improves the agility of the response by all stakeholders.
During the recovery phase,
traceability allows the industry and regulators to maintain or rebuild trust with consumers into the safety and resiliency of the food system.
Traceability allows for the determination of causality of the problem through root cause analysis, thereby preventing future issues.
Traceability has become increasingly important. The global food supply chain today has evolved into a tangled web as companies seek to enhance their capabilities to feed the world’s growing population. While food safety problems remain rare, when they do occur, time is the enemy as public health and lives are at stake, as well as the livelihoods of industries, companies and employees. Being able to ascertain the origin of products, ingredients and their attributes, from the farm through food processing to retail, foodservice and the consumer, is critical to health authorities and consumer confidence.
Identification of carcasses in the field.
One of the critical functions of a harvesting team is to individually tag each carcass with a unique number. This information is captured on the inspection reports which contains all the other details of each harvest including;
Place of harvest.
Date and Time of harvest.
Name of Harvesting team
Chiller truck details with time of loading and time of departure.
Door seal numbers.
All details of findings during the harvesting process.
This information accompanies the load to the registered cutting plant.
Cutting plant actions for capturing traceability information:
When the truck arrives at the cutting plant the carcasses are separated into lots/batches per specie per farm as per the inspection document. Each batch/lot is allocated a production batch number.
A daily batch processing list is prepared in advance for each day's production. Details of the consignment of game are captured on a computerised meat management system by the cutting plant administration office.
All carcasses are de-boned according to the lot in which they were slaughtered. After de-boning, the individual portions/cuts are vacuum packed, weighed and cartoned.
All cartons are labelled according to content (product code), production date, means of preserving (chilling / freezing), a serial number identification seal(ZA – EXPORT) or label(XXX – DOMESTIC) and a pack ID/Batch Number which contains all details of the batch.
Physical trace of meat products:
In the event of a recall, the Export/Domestic number enables identification of the establishment, and the date of production and batch/lot number enable identification of the producer (farm on which the animals in question were produced).
Reference to the tag numbers for the day will also confirm the specific identities, and ante-mortem inspection documents for that batch will refer to the health status of the animals in question.
All daily report forms relating to each section of the cutting plant are filed and are available for inspection.
It is therefore possible to have a complete record of the product from a carton in a freezer across the world right to the farm where the carcass from which that cut was produced originated.